Published by Random House Publishing Group on March 11th 2014
Genres: Fiction, General, Literary, Psychological, Sagas, Suspense, Thrillers
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death. What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier. The Weight of Blood is an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace.
I’m not sure where to place this book. Late YA? New Adult? I guess the problem lies with the main character being seventeen. The book is fairly dark and actually reminds me a little bit of The Never List. McHugh makes an attempt at surprises and drawing parallels between Lucy’s mother’s disappearance and Cheri. The problem is that it’s done pretty inexpertly so the reader can see the plot twists miles ahead.
What McHugh is successful at doing is creating a pretty spooky/fucked up small town setting. Henbane is positively creepy and populated with complete weirdos. McHugh’s characters aren’t too bad, she fleshes out most of them pretty well. As often happens with books written for this demographic there is a love story that is completely extraneous and unnecessary. Though, the male love interest does seem like a sweet guy.
The book moves fairly quickly and attempts uniqueness by using different character’s POVs. Her pacing is good but again, the plot is pretty predictable after the first few chapters that it doesn’t matter about the pacing because you can see what’s going to happen. All that being said, this book isn’t bad, it just isn’t very original. You could do worse on a plane.